[213], Montejo was appointed alcalde mayor (a local colonial governor) of Tabasco in 1529, and pacified that province with the aid of his son, also named Francisco de Montejo. [59], Spanish weaponry and tactics differed greatly from that of the indigenous peoples. He was accompanied by the friendly Chel lord Namux Chel. [317] With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to the European colonisers. By 1708 only about 6,000 Maya remained in central Petén, compared to ten times that number in 1697. The Spanish and their allies arrived at the lakeshore after a day's march, and Alvarado rode ahead with 30 cavalry along the lake shore until he engaged a hostile Tzʼutujil force, which was broken by the Spanish charge. At this time the population of Utatlan was approximately 50,000. [16] The Sierra Madre highlands gain altitude from west to east, with the highest mountains near the Guatemalan border. No. Pedro de Alvarado and others conquered the Mayans. The modern day difficulty in deciphering the Mayan hieroglyphics stems from the actions of the same man who, inadvertently, preserved so much of what we know of the Maya Civilization: Bishop Diego de Landa. The Spanish spotted three large Maya cities along the coast, but Grijalva did not land at any of these and turned back north to loop around the north of the peninsula and sail down the west coast. Among the most deadly diseases were the aforementioned smallpox, influenza, measles and a number of pulmonary diseases, including tuberculosis. After this, Mazariegos and his companions proceeded to Chiapan and set up a temporary camp nearby, that they named Villa Real. The coast of Cozumel was Grijalva's first sight of Yucatán. In early 1541 Montejo the Younger joined his cousin in Champton; he did not remain there long, and quickly moved his forces to Campeche. [59] In Tabasco the population of approximately 30,000 was reduced by an estimated 90%, with measles, smallpox, catarrhs, dysentery and fevers being the main culprits. [279], In 1692 Basque nobleman Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi proposed to the Spanish king the construction of a road from Mérida southwards to link with the Guatemalan colony, in the process "reducing" any independent native populations into colonial congregaciones; this was part of a greater plan to subjugate the Lakandon and Manche Chʼol of southern Petén and the upper reaches of the Usumacinta River. An advance party was led into an Itza trap and 87 expedition members were lost, including 50 soldiers, two Dominicans and about 35 Maya helpers. [195] Xelha was renamed Salamanca de Xelha and became the first Spanish settlement in the peninsula. The lord of the Canul Maya refused to submit and Montejo the Younger sent his cousin against them (also called Francisco de Montejo); Montejo the Younger remained in Campeche awaiting reinforcements. [41] The Coxoh Maya held territory in the upper reaches of the Grijalva drainage, near the Guatemalan border,[42] and were probably a subgroup of the Tojolabal. [232] The Chuj of San Mateo Ixtatán remained rebellious and resisted Spanish control for longer than their highland neighbours, resistance that was possible owing to their alliance with the lowland Lakandon Chʼol to the north. They were mutually hostile; the Xiu Maya of Mani allied themselves with the Spanish, while the Cocom Maya of Sotuta became the implacable enemies of the European colonisers. The Maya civilization was one of the most dominant indigenous societies of Mesoamerica (a term used to describe Mexico and Central America before the 16th century Spanish conquest). Cochuah was also in the eastern half of the peninsula. The Mayans were in decline as a civilization - their cities were much smaller, their overall influence was shrinking and their great capitals had almost all been abandoned before the Aztecs even started growing out of the Texcoco lake. The Mixco Viejo of colonial records has now been associated with the archaeological site of Chinautla Viejo, much closer to modern Mixco. [236] On 29 January 1686, Captain Melchor Rodríguez Mazariegos, acting under orders from the governor, left Huehuetenango for San Mateo Ixtatán, where he recruited indigenous warriors from the nearby villages. [227] The Spanish army then marched east toward Uspantán; Arias then handed command over to the inexperienced Pedro de Olmos and returned to the capital. [303] Captain Pedro de Zubiaur, García's senior officer, arrived at Lake Petén Itza with 60 musketeers, two Franciscans, and allied Yucatec Maya warriors. [nb 3] The Spanish attempted an approach through a narrow pass but were forced back with heavy losses. [173], Kaybʼil Bʼalam had received news of the Spanish advance and had withdrawn to his fortress at Zaculeu,[173] with some 6,000 warriors gathered from the surrounding area. [203] They first travelled to Jiquipilas to meet up with a delegation from Zinacantan, who had asked for Spanish assistance against rebellious vassals; a small contingent of Spanish cavalry was enough to bring these back into line. The oldest of the three, the Mayans inhabited the Yucatan Peninsula. Francisco Antonio de Fuentes y Guzmán was a colonial Guatemalan historian of Spanish descent who wrote La Recordación Florida. [206] Mazariegos proceeded with the policy of moving the Indians into reducciones; this process was made easier by the much reduced indigenous population levels. The Maya southern lowlands went into decline in the 8th and 9th centuries and were abandoned. [179] Alvarado entered Chiapas from Guatemala via the territory of the Acala Chʼol; he was unable to locate Cortés, and his scouts eventually led him to Tecpan Puyumatlan (modern Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango),[180] in a mountainous region near the territory of the Lakandon Chʼol. Maya states did not maintain standing armies; warriors were mustered by local officials who reported back to appointed warleaders. Montejo the Younger abandoned Ciudad Real by night, and he and his men fled west, where the Chel, Pech and Xiu provinces remained obedient to Spanish rule. The Mayans believed that Utatlan was favored by the gods, and the surrounding cities were re quired to pay tribute. Zinacantán was the only indigenous settlement that remained loyal to the Spanish. Mayans The oldest of these is the Mayans, who once lived on the Yucatan Peninsula. Alvarado was ultimately to prove successful. [338] Two pictorial accounts painted in the stylised indigenous pictographic tradition have survived; these are the Lienzo de Quauhquechollan, and the Lienzo de Tlaxcala. Mayan art was extremely skilled and beautiful, with rich history and stories. [240], In 1695 the colonial authorities decided to act upon a plan to connect the province of Guatemala with Yucatán,[241] and a three-way invasion of the Lacandon was launched simultaneously from San Mateo Ixtatán, Cobán and Ocosingo. [17] The Central Highlands of Chiapas rise sharply to the north of the Grijalva, to a maximum altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft), then descend gradually towards the Yucatán Peninsula. [283] They pressed ahead to Lake Petén Itzá and engaged in a series of fierce skirmishes with Itza hunting parties. [239] Governor Enriquez de Guzmán subsequently left San Mateo Ixtatán for Comitán in Chiapas, to enter the Lacandon region via Ocosingo. The ecclesiastical authorities were so worried by this threat to their peaceful efforts at evangelisation that they eventually supported military intervention. Although heavily outnumbered, the Spanish cavalry and firearms decided the battle. [160] In practise, the quick turnover of encomiendas continued, since few Spaniards had legal Spanish wives and legitimate children who could inherit. [84], On 30 July 1502, during his fourth voyage, Christopher Columbus arrived at Guanaja, one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras. The Uspantek and the Ixil were allies and in 1529 Uspantek warriors were harassing Spanish forces and the city of Uspantán was trying to foment rebellion among the Kʼicheʼ; the Spanish decided that military action was necessary. [25] Among Mesoamerican peoples the capture of prisoners was a priority, while to the Spanish such taking of prisoners was a hindrance to outright victory. [63] The Maya lacked key elements of Old World technology, such as the use of iron and steel and functional wheels. [2] The first contact between the Maya and European explorers came in 1502, during the fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus, when his brother Bartholomew encountered a canoe. [89] There they were seized by a Halach Uinik, a Maya lord. [181], In 1525 Pedro de Alvarado sent a small company to conquer Mixco Viejo (Chinautla Viejo), the capital of the Poqomam. [310] The rest of the party arrived at the shore of Lake Petén Itzá, but quickly retreated back to Guatemala. [22], The first large Maya cities developed in the Petén Basin in the far south of the Yucatán Peninsula as far back as the Middle Preclassic (c. 600–350 BC),[23] and Petén formed the heartland of the ancient Maya civilization during the Classic period (c. AD 250–900). [308] Martín de Ursúa now began to organise an all-out assault on Nojpetén. [82], After Zaculeu fell to the Spanish, the Ixil and Uspantek Maya were sufficiently isolated to evade immediate Spanish attention. [94], Over the next fifteen days the fleet followed the coastline west, and then south. Spanish and native tactics and technology differed greatly. [284] At the lakeshore, the Spanish encountered such a large force of Itzas that they retreated south, back to their main camp. The captured Itza captain and his followers were taken back to the Spanish Captain Antonio Méndez de Canzo, interrogated under torture, tried, and executed. In 1618 two Franciscan friars set out from Mérida on a mission to attempt the peaceful conversion of the still pagan Itza in central Petén. [32] The Yalain occupied a territory that extended eastwards to Tipuj in Belize. [228] The victorious Spanish branded surviving warriors as slaves. [57] Those that remained behind in the reducciones often fell victim to contagious diseases;[58] coastal reducciones, while convenient for Spanish administration, were also vulnerable to pirate attacks. Once there they built a heavily armed galeota attack boat,[312] which carried 114 men and at least five artillery pieces. Who did the Mayans conquer? Mayans never lived under a single kingdom. The Spanish and their allies stormed the town and set up camp in the marketplace. Kaybʼil Bʼalam finally surrendered the city to the Spanish in the middle of October 1525. [12] To the south the plain gradually rises towards the Guatemalan Highlands. Western Petén and neighbouring Chiapas remained sparsely populated, and the Maya inhabitants avoided contact with the Spanish. [4] In Mexico, the Maya occupied territory now incorporated into the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán. [291] Meanwhile, another group of Franciscans continued following the roadbuilders into Kejache territory. [170], At the time of the conquest, the main Mam population was situated in Xinabahul (modern Huehuetenango city), but Zaculeu's fortifications led to its use as a refuge during the conquest. [206] Mazariegos entered into protracted three-month negotiations with the Spanish settlers in Coatzacoalcos (Espíritu Santo) and San Cristóbal de los Llanos. The Poqomam then received reinforcements, and the two armies clashed on open ground outside of the city. [341] Field investigation has tended to support the estimates of indigenous population and army sizes given by Fuentes y Guzmán. Night fell by the time the water casks had been filled and the attempts at communication concluded. [153], After two Kaqchikel messengers sent by Pedro de Alvarado were killed by the Tzʼutujil,[154] the conquistadors and their Kaqchikel allies marched against the Tzʼutujil. The Spanish launched an expedition against Puyumatlan; it was not successful in terms of conquest, but enabled the Spanish to seize more slaves to trade for weapons and horses. [140] Almost a week later, on 18 February 1524,[141] a 30,000-strong Kʼicheʼ army confronted the Spanish army in the Quetzaltenango valley and was comprehensively defeated; many Kʼicheʼ nobles were among the dead. [331], The sources describing the Spanish conquest of Guatemala include those written by the Spanish themselves, among them two letters written by conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in 1524, describing the initial campaign to subjugate the Guatemalan Highlands. [168] The Kaqchikel kept up resistance against the Spanish for a number of years, but on 9 May 1530, exhausted by warfare,[169] the two kings of the most important clans returned from the wilds. Messages were sent with a few Maya who had been too slow to escape but the Maya remained hidden in the forest; the Spanish boarded their ships and continued along the coast. Private adventurers thereafter entered into contracts with the Spanish Crown to conquer the newly discovered lands in return for tax revenues and the power to rule. [262], In 1540 Montejo the Elder, who was now in his late 60s, turned his royal rights to colonise Yucatán over to his son, Francisco Montejo the Younger. [115], After the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan fell to the Spanish in 1521, the Kaqchikel Maya of Iximche sent envoys to Hernán Cortés to declare their allegiance to the new ruler of Mexico, and the Kʼicheʼ Maya of Qʼumarkaj may also have sent a delegation. [224], In the ten years after the fall of Zaculeu various Spanish expeditions crossed into the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and engaged in the gradual and complex conquest of the Chuj and Qʼanjobʼal. Mayans made many advancements in mathematics that furthered our advancement in the discipline today. The Mayans attempted to recapture the city of Tikal soon after, but their assault was repelled by superior firepower. [292] Around 3 August García moved his entire army forward to Chunpich,[293] and by October Spanish soldiers had established themselves near the source of the San Pedro River. [142] This battle exhausted the Kʼicheʼ militarily and they asked for peace, and invited Pedro de Alvarado into their capital Qʼumarkaj. Champoton was the last Spanish outpost in the Yucatán Peninsula; it was increasingly isolated and the situation there became difficult. [271], In March 1622, Captain Francisco de Mirones Lezcano set out from Yucatán with 20 Spanish soldiers and 80 Mayas to launch an assault upon the Itza. [219] Montejo the Younger remained behind in Dzilam to continue his attempts at conquest of the region but soon retreated to Campeche to rejoin his father and Alonso d'Avila, who had returned to Campeche shortly beforehand. The company seized large amounts of abandoned food from two more deserted settlements and then also retreated. [322] There was a drastic depopulation of Lake Izabal and the Motagua Delta due to constant slave raids by the Miskito Sambu of the Caribbean coast that effectively ended the Maya population of the region; the captured Maya were sold into slavery, a common practise among the Miskito. [268] At around this time the Spanish decided on the reduction of the independent Mopan Maya living to the north of Lake Izabal. The Spanish hold on the eastern portion of the peninsula remained tenuous and a number of Maya polities remained independent, including Chetumal, Cochua, Cupul, Sotuta and the Tazes. [125] The Roman Catholic priests accompanying the expedition celebrated mass in the presence of the king of the Itza, who was said to be so impressed that he pledged to worship the cross and to destroy his idols. [329] Some indigenous elites such as the Xajil Kaqchikel noble family did manage to maintain a level of status into the colonial period. [185] The Chajoma rebelled against the Spanish in 1526, fighting a battle at Ukubʼil, an unidentified site somewhere near the modern towns of San Juan Sacatepéquez and San Pedro Sacatepéquez. [166], The Spanish founded a new town at nearby Tecpán Guatemala, abandoned it in 1527 because of continuous Kaqchikel attacks, and moved to the Almolonga Valley to the east, refounding their capital at Ciudad Vieja. 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